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Monday, July 22, 2024

Paris Block Party Defeats Hot Springs Fountain Lake and Farmington in Straight Sets

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It was a festive night at Paris Gymnasium on Thursday as the high school volleyball season started with preseason games to benefit the Arkansas Activities Association. Paris played host to Class 4A Farmington and Hot Springs Fountain Lake in a round-robin of two-set matches with each school. The night’s games were the final tune-ups before the official start of the season on Monday, August 23. On that date, the Lady Eagles will travel to Russellville to open the season against the Lady Cyclones.

And what a difference a year makes! Unlike the COVID year of 2020 where teams were allowed very limited activity late in the summer, teams throughout the state had the opportunity this summer to play club sports and to attend regular workouts all summer long. The only break players have had this season was during the mandatory two weeks of AAA mandated “dead weeks” where formal, organized practices are not allowed. And even then, players worked out individually on their own, or with small numbers of fellow teammates who organized their own workouts. After enduring the heartbreak a year ago of seeing courts and playing fields empty due to COVID, it was refreshing to see a big crowd and a court full of happy high school athletes being able to play the sport that they love!

All three schools played well. Farmington is an improved team from last year, and Fountain Lake, playing their second year in Class 4A, is reasserting their dominance that they enjoyed as a 3A school. Paris will travel to Fountain Lake in a few weeks to play the Lady Cobras in a regular season, non-conference match. The Lady Cobras have a good program and are well-coached, and there is a good relationship between the coaches at Hot Springs and Paris. Both schools benefit in conference play by playing each other in non-conference play.

Paris is returning a very deep, talented, and experienced team from a year ago. The team finished as state runner-up a year ago with a predominantly sophomore and junior team, and all of those players return this year. Senior Jacee Hart has stepped up to take over the important position of setter that will maximize the impact of the impressive Paris front line. Hart’s contribution as a setter could be the last piece in the puzzle for the Lady Eagles to return to the state championship.

After a little bit of a slow start in the first set against Fountain Lake, the Lady Eagles got on track and proceeded to dominate their competition. Last evening, Paris looked like a state title contender. They are deep and talented, and most importantly, focused on returning the state championship to Paris.

But the Lady Eagles will find out a lot about themselves and their state of readiness to make a playoff run with a very challenging first week of regular season volleyball starting on Monday. The Lady Eagles travel to Russellville on Monday, at Lavaca on Wednesday, and at home on Thursday against a very good Fort Smith Southside team. The tough non-conference schedule will undoubtedly pay dividends in September and October when the Lady Eagles are in the meat of their conference schedule.

Resident Press will be here to bring you all of the action! And as they are now, photos will also be available on Facebook at Paris Eagles Sports for fans of all schools to have of their favorite players and teams!

So…see you in Russellville on Monday!

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